Certis Cisco yesterday acknowledged that an incident between two of its officers and a teenager at Bedok Reservoir last week could have been better managed.
Rayner Ong, 16, who had been confronted by two Cisco officers for allegedly fishing in an area not designated for fishing, had filmed a 3 1/2-minute video of the officers getting agitated.
The behaviour of the boy and the officers has drawn the ire of netizens since the video was posted online on Tuesday.
Protection Officer (PO) Md Azhar, 23, is heard asking Rayner if he was a one-year-old to claim that he was not fishing despite having cast a rod.
He retorted: "One-year-olds don't fish; come on, that's stupid. You have to think before you talk, like seriously."
This prompted profanities from the PO, who has been with the commercial security firm since May last year.
Certis Cisco, replying to queries from The Straits Times, said its officers could have been "more professional and diplomatic".
They had been contracted by the Public Utilities Board to patrol the reservoir for people who "engage in inappropriate use of the premise including fishing (in unauthorised areas) and endangering their lives".
Certis Cisco said the boy had been "warned on several occasions not to fish in non-designated fishing areas".
It told The Straits Times that on the day of the incident, he was seen fishing at the floating deck, about 10 to 15 metres away from the area where fishing is allowed.
"He did not cooperate when our officers asked him to leave the premise," said a spokesman.
Subsequently, when Rayner was packing up his belongings, PO Azhar heard him shout "this is what Cisco does" and asked him what he had meant. Rayner then began filming the incident.
The PO's colleague, Senior Security Officer Azhar, 27, joined him to render assistance, but did not manage to calm the situation.
Both officers later apologised to Rayner on the same day for their "wrong choice of words", said Certis Cisco.
Rayner, who is waiting to enrol in a polytechnic, told The Straits Times yesterday that he "was not fishing illegally".
"Usually I like to carry my rod and walk by the floating deck to buy food at a food court near Bedok Reservoir. Cisco has caught me umpteen times. I have already told him I was just walking," he said, adding that he chose to post the video online in "self-defence", after feeling threatened.
"That day, coincidentally I had my lure attached but I wasn't casting. I think he can see that for himself and yet he approached me."
Rayner, who fishes "practically every day", said he would continue to fish at the reservoir. He said: "Why should I stop my passion for this issue?"
Certis Cisco said any of its officers found to have broken its values of professionalism and integrity will be disciplined.
The PO, who has no prior disciplinary record, has been counselled and transferred to another post.
This article was published on April 10 in The Straits Times.
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